Poems and Stories
Carrying one candle home.
The shadows of the trees
Follow the light along the path
Like dart cats at my feet.
I turn and find two moons
Above my head,
One of them turns to ash
The other gently falls back
Into the sky.
Very near me,
I can hear four hundred frogs
Doing their algebra.
Walking home through the woods.
I didn't see that porcupine at the gate.
When I passed the spot,
I heard insects
At work on top of its body,
Changing it back into the earth.
A MOTH AT MY WINDOW
A moth at my window,
Graceful Japanese dancer,
For just a minute
Against the glass
A WEEK AGO I BOUGHT SOME CHEESE
It was so cold yesterday
That to write,
I had to thaw out the ink bottle
To remove my pen.
Paint brushes are frozen
To the cups
I dipped them in the last night to clean.
Still I don't light a fire,
But sit here watching
Hungry sparrows pick brown rice
Out of the snow.
A week ago I bought some cheese
And put it in the cooler.
Now I have to separate the mouse turds
From the caraway seeds
Every time I want a sandwich.
LEAVING FOR THE CITY IN THE RAIN
Off the hill from the shack,
Down the path in mud
And limp leaves caught upright
In the footprints of those who have left before me,
I come slowly out of the woods laughing
Like a Chinese madman on an ancient screen.
The trees are cold.
They scratch like long grey fingers.
Slipping further down
To the plank laid cross the road,
I dance over it
Picking my way through more mud
Towards a piece of dry ground.
There standing still and not sinking
I listen to the earth in its bath
Hum fractions of wet song to itself.
THE STINKING OF THE SLICE
The horning of the board,
The stinking of the slice,
The cankerous mince and pumpkin,
Olives like ebony shooters,
My father's shoulders weighted with a fathers real debt,
His hands melting in my hair,
He would take me to the walk-in freezer,
To see the mounted bear,
The turning of the stew,
The listing of the catch,
A lamb shank for the dog,
Peeled haddock for the cat,
I can see them all humming now like an orchestra of flies.
GOD TOLD ME TO GIVE YOU THE FINGER
God told the Jews to leave Egypt.
He told the Mormons to go to Salt Lake City,
Set up a giant choir, and a 7up bottling plant.
Then God told me to give you the finger
The next time I saw you.
It is not that God is angry with you,
You cannot anger God.
It's just that He wants to be sure
You still believe in miracles.
PRESENTED TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN OF SIKKIM ON A PIECE OF TOILET PAPER OVER NEW DELHI 1971
For Morris Graves
They told me
That my search for enlightenment
Was like trying to smell a flower
With a picture of a nose.
They said that
I could tread water in this life,
Accumulating a store of merit for the next.
So with a cloudy mind,
I turn the Wheel of the Dharma,
Looking forward to a future birth
When I will be able
To speak with authority
On the subject of Virtue.
THE OWL AND THE BLUEJAY
While hitchhiking to Seattle, two Indians gave me a ride from La Conner to Mt. Vernon in a pickup truck. On the way I told them I was an
artist, and showed them a folio of bird drawings I had with me. The Indians looked at them with some interest, then the one driving asked
me to draw a picture of a Bluejay for him. He told me that the Bluejay was the only bird that will help another bird of a species different than its
own. I asked the Indian how they did this. He said that the Bluejays will always surround a hungry bird, even an Eagle, and feed it. I said I
would give him a picture of a Bluejay the next time I saw him. Then the Indian sitting next to me who had been silent, turned and said, "I
can hear the Bluejays talk." I asked him what they said. He replied, "Right now they are talking to an Owl they've got riding between them
in a truck."
APPRENTICED TO MUD
As a painter,
I have not made enough
Of a living this month
To even feed myself.
My friend cut his hand
The hand will heal
And the government checks will stop coming.
Then it will be my turn to pick up the axe.
THERE ARE ETHERS
There are ethers
In the magician's head
That flow between the walls of his skull
Like unnamed rivers.
Strange thoughts arise
Like brilliant trout jumping,
Then fall back
Disappearing into themselves.
All things dead lead into him,
The magician dances.
A wind blows through his bones,
It is the sound of the earth reviving itself.
Copyright 1976 by Charles Krafft. All rights reserved.
Krafft Poetry Links
Page on Krafft Poetry & Art